Gunfight – Part 3 – Finale

Gunfight layout with figures
Museum figures of those involved in the gunfight.

The day has come!

The restless cowboys and presumed outlaws have decided there would be a showdown.  They began forming at O.K. Corral and had their guns prepared.

According to a timeline by John D. Gilchriese, writer and collector, these are the major events of the gunfight:

The Street Fight – October 26, 1881

Earps and Holliday head to gunfight

After meeting and wondering what to do about The Cowboys forming at the O.K. Corral and making threats, the Earps and Doc decided to head there.  Rounding the corner of Fourth and Freemont Streets, the Earps head west to the rear entrance of the O.K. Corral – and a date with destiny. (Photos by RonLin Photography from images posted in the Gunfight at O.K. Corral Museum.)
Gunfight 1
Town Marshal Virgin Earp (with cane) says “Hold on, we don’t want that,” as Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton take the first bullets from Doc and Morgan.
Gunfight 2
Billy Clanton (second from right) draws his gun and begins to fight as his brother Ike begs Wyatt Earp not to shoot him. Morgan and Doc are concentrating on Frank McLaury, and Billy Clanton, though mortally wounded, fights back.  Frank and Tom maneuver their horses as shields.
Gunfight 3
As Ike Clanton flees, Virgil Earp and Tom McLaury bring their guns into action.  Doc Holliday turns to fire at the fleeing Ike while Morgan continues to fire at the wounded Frank McLaury.
Gunfight 4
Frank McLaury moves his horse into the street and fires back under the horse’s neck as Holliday pulls his sawed-off shotgun from under his coat.  (The researcher who commissioned these paintings believes a shot was fired from within the O.K. Corral at this point, which shows why the Earps are giving their attention to that possible threat at the moment.)
Gunfight 5
Frank McLaury still manages to hang onto his horse for cover as brother Tom, shooting over his saddle, hits Morgan Earp.  Billy Clanton (who is already dying)  returns fire at Virgil and Wyatt.  A shot from Frank hits Marshal Virgil Earp in the right leg.
Gunfight 6
Morgan Earp goes down, shot through the shoulder muscles.  Tom McLaury’s horse, grazed by a bullet from Wyatt, finally bolts, leaving Tom exposed to Holliday’s “murderous” shotgun blast.  Billy Clanton, still firing, begins to slide down the wall.
Gunfight 7
Tom McLaury, mortally wounded, has stagger out of the picture.  Frank’s horse finally bolts, leaving him exposed.  His last shot strikes Doc Holliday’s holster, producing a painful but not serious wound.  Though seriously wounded, Morgan turns and fires, killing Frank with a head shot.  “I got him,” says Morgan Earp.  Billy Clanton would spend his last breath begging for more cartridges.

The gunfight lasted about 30 seconds.

According to Gilchriese, Wyatt Earp, when asked about the “Gunfight at O.K. Corral,”  stated: “It was a street fight between my brothers, Doc, and myself and those who believed they could shoot down the Earps.”  Wyatt apparently had a chuckle about the allusion of the “gunfight” at O.K. Corral, that was probably created by fictional writers to make it more exciting.

Wyatt also drew the locations of the shooters as he recounted the scenario.

Gunfight locations according to Wyatt Earp

Gunfight locations according to Wyatt Earp-2

The exact location of the fight?  Freemont Street, south side and east of 3rd Street

Who fired first?  Frank McLaury and Wyatt Earp

Who died?  Frank and Tom McLaury, Billy Clanton

Who was wounded?  Virgil and Morgan Earp

Where did each man stand?  (as drawn by Don Perceval)

Gunfight layout image - 2 by Don Louis Perceval (1908 - 1979)
Don Perceval’s rendition located in the O.K. Corral Museum.  Note O.K. Corral sign on the upper, far left.

Did the fight start in the street?   No, for six seconds the antagonists were in the vacant lot before they backed into Freemont Street

Where is Sheriff John Behan?  Behind Fly’s Boarding House

Where is Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne?  Hiding in Fly’s Boarding House

More photos by Gilchriese are viewable at  http://kbbooks-tucson.com/Photographs.htm.

A photo showing the town layout, during the gunfight, developed in the Tombstone Fly Studio based on research from John D. Rose,  is at https://www.wyattearpexplorers.com/ok-corral.html.

How would the Earps escape this eventual tragedy?  They wanted to prosper in the thriving town of Tombstone, mainly due to the silver ore that was being mined and the businesses developing in the west.

Tombstone Epitaph location

I have to wonder where the town’s people stood on the issues.  Did they not care enough to get involved to help those who were there to protect them?

There is an old saying (paraphrased) that for evil to prevail is for good men (and women) to do nothing.

What about the families of the Clantons, Claibornes and McLaurys?  While there is evidence they too wanted to be business affiliates, but also were entangled with the criminal element, I wonder how their side of the story goes?

Here is a link for further information about the McLaurys.  http://www.worldcat.org/title/mclaurys-in-tombstone-arizona-an-ok-corral-obituary/oclc/806040205&referer=brief_results.

What about Curly Bill Brochius?  Do you know his part?

There is another previous outlaw who was friends with Wyatt Earp in Dodge city – Sherman McMasters.  What was his involvement?  (He had also stolen a valuable thoroughbred in Tombstone).

This is a link with a few more details about the Clantons.  http://clantongang.com/oldwest/ganlaury.html

Who knows how Tombstone could have flourished during the day had the Earps succeeded in business and built the town as they had envisioned?

Tombstone Saloon

Regardless, things could have turned out differently had the various factions worked together to resolve their conflicts.

Tombstone Billiards where Morgan Earp was shot
Modern-day photo of the billiards where Morgan Earp was shot in the back and died at midnight.

I’ll close this post with words mentioned in the video clip – what Wyatt Earp said in his last words:  “Just suppose.”

(Don’t forget to check out the video re-enactment below, which was performed just off Freemont as they tried to replicate as much as possible.)

Blessings!

Ron

 

Gunfight – Part 2

Tombstone - Wyatt, Morgan Earp talk with Ike Clanton, re-enactmentWell, as things escalated in Tombstone, Arizona it was becoming inevitable there would be a major clash between outlaws such as The Cowboys and former, as well as present, law enforcers.

It seems like a lot of people were wearing badges but they were having to be replaced regularly.  Also, who could you trust to uphold the law honestly?

Tombstone - Wyatt Earp re-enactment

Wearing a badge as sheriff, deputy or U.S. Marshal apparently wasn’t an easy task, and in reality placed a target on each one.  It appears the Earps sure tried their best to not get involved.

The Earps didn’t want trouble as they came to Tombstone to make a profit with their business adventures.  They even left their enforcement career behind, hoping to start over, living in prosperity and happiness.

Tombstone - Doc Holliday confronts Ike Clanton, re-enactment, faded lookWhen Doc Holliday came to town he apparently wanted to refrain from conflict too, particularly at the request of the Earps.

However, the provocation of the outlaws continued and he had no choice.  Tombstone - Doc Holliday confronts Ike Clanton, re-enactment - 2

Isn’t that also like life today.  People want to disrupt our efforts at home and abroad to better their agenda and disrupt efforts to benefit families, peace and prosperity.

Here is a video clip of Part 2 as the scene continues to build toward the eventual, deadly showdown at O.K. Corral.

Blessings,

Ron

Gunfight

Tombstone, Arizona became the booming city in the west and was only 30 miles (48 km) from the U.S.–Mexico border.

It was an open market for cattle stolen from ranches in Sonora, Mexico by a loosely organized band of outlaws known as The Cowboys, who began increasing their influence on the town and causing problems.

As one would anticipate, with the wild west growing, combined with treasure hunting and town entertainment, tensions would rise.

Many of the ranchers (like the Clantons) were also rustlers or other types of criminals.  Compounding efforts to keep local groups under control were political differences as well. There seemed to be no effective law enforcement to curtail the growing problems.

The Earp brothers—Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan—as well as Doc Holliday, arrived in December 1879 and mid-1880. Basically, the Earps wanted to get away from the wild life and become involved in business in Tombstone.  However, they met much resistance with Cowboys Ike and Billy Clanton, Frank and Tom McLaury, and Billy Claiborne.

The Cowboys repeatedly threatened the Earps over many months until the conflict escalated into a shootout on October 26, 1881.

The historic gunfight is often portrayed as occurring at the O.K. Corral; however, it actually occurred a short distance away in an empty lot on Fremont Street.

I’m glad our society has become more civilized since these old wild-west-days, aren’t you?

Hopefully we are not seeing a resurgence of these historical days.

So, Tombstone is best known as the site of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and presently draws most of its revenue from tourism.

Below is the Part 1 video I prepared from our visit to the live reenactment of the famous gunfight at O.K. Corral. This was a performance before a live audience and provides some good insight about some of the historical event.

The entire reenactment video is 16 minutes long so I divided it into three parts.  Parts 2 and 3 will be posted this week.

Blessings,

Ron

Tombstone

Tombstone Stage Coach 3When you hear the word Tombstone, what comes to mind?

To me, the first thought was where one is buried and an inscription over the site is written in stone.

Next, I think of Tombstone, Arizona.  Have you been there?

Also, my mind goes to the movie “Tombstone.”  According to Wikipedia: “Tombstone is a 1993 American Western film directed by George P. Cosmatos, written by Kevin Jarre (who was also the original director, but was replaced early in production[4][5]), and starring Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer, with Sam ElliottBill PaxtonPowers BootheMichael Biehn, and Dana Delany in supporting roles, as well as narration by Robert Mitchum.

The film is based on events in Tombstone, Arizona, including the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and the Earp Vendetta Ride, during the 1880s. It depicts a number of Western outlaws and lawmen, such as Wyatt EarpWilliam BrociusJohnny Ringo, and Doc Holliday.”  Here is a YouTube link to a short clip of the movie.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTWYKf5hXIg

Well, this post is primarily about Tombstone, Arizona.

During our travels through Arizona we ventured south through Tucson. I had previously been to Tucson and enjoyed the area then so due to time constraints we decided to visit Tombstone.

According to Wikipedia, Tombstone is a historic city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States.  It was founded in 1879 by prospector Ed Schieffelin, who was briefly a scout for the U. S. Army headquartered at Camp Huachuca. He frequently searched wilderness areas looking for valuable ore samples.  Before the Tombstone name was developed the area was called Pima County, Arizona Territory.

In 1877, Schieffelin used Brunckow’s Cabin as a base of operations and began surveying the area.  After many months he found pieces of silver ore.  It took months to find the source.  According to reports, Schieffelin’s legal mining claim was sited near a grave site.  In September 1877 he filed his first claim and named the stake Tombstone.  (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tombstone,_Arizona for details.)Tombstone StreetThe town was established on a mesa (flat-topped hill) above the Goodenough Mine. Within two years of its founding Tombstone had a bowling alley, four churches, an ice house, a school, two banks, three newspapers, and an ice cream parlor, alongside 110 saloons, 14 gambling halls, and numerous dance halls and brothels. I’m sure the ice cream parlor was the favorite.

Tombstone Longhorn Restaurant
Longhorn Restaurant that provides a good menu of food at a fair price.  It provides a realistic western town feel.

 

Tombstone became one of the last boomtowns in the American frontier.

Tombstone bird cage entertainment signThe businesses were situated among, and on top of a large number of silver mines. The gentlemen and ladies of Tombstone attended operas presented by visiting acting troupes at the Schieffelin Hall opera house.  Miners and cowboys saw shows at the Bird Cage Theatre and brothel.

The town grew significantly into the mid-1880s as the local mines produced millions in silver bullion, the largest productive silver district in Arizona. Population grew from 100 to around 14,000 in less than seven years.

At the Santa Rita mines in nearby Santa Cruz Valley, three superintendents had been killed by Indians. When friend and fellow Army Scout Al Sieber learned what Schieffelin was up to, he is quoted as telling him, “The only rock you will find out there will be your own tombstone”,[7] or, according to another version of the story, “Better take your coffin with you, Ed; you will only find your tombstone there, and nothing else.” [8][9] [references through Wikepedia)

Tombstone CourthouseTombstone’s Courthouse today provides a good collection of authentic interpretive exhibits, including: the period Sheriff’s Office, artist drawings and interpretations of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Wyatt Earp, mining exhibit area, saloon and gaming room, period lawyers office and courtroom, ranching, and residents of Tombstone. (More information at https://tombstonecourthouse.com/history-of-the-courthouse/)

Tombstone Courthouse Gallows
Outside the courthouse in the courtyard is a reproduction gallows, the site where many convicted murderers met their fate.

 

Tombstone Courthouse Jail Door
Original jail doors being held up with modern framework.  One has to think of the types of criminals who passed through these doors.
Tomstone Courthouse Chair and Desk
Much of the original furniture is still in the courthouse – parts of the sheriff’s office as well as the lawyer’s office.  There is an old courtroom there as well.

Life was similar to what one would think as reflected in the western movies.  I imagine Tombstone was pretty rough with the mix of the rowdy, criminal, mischievous and law-abiding guests and residents.  Additionally, the town was far removed from larger towns where the “rule of law” prevailed.

Tombstone Stage Coach
Guests can ride on the era stagecoaches and receive excellent information about the town.

Tombstone - Bronco Trading sign

Tombstone street art
Street art reflects life in the 1800s.

Tombstone street art 2

Tombstone - OK Corral
Photo of gunfight near the O.K. Corral.

Eventually, with the wildness of the territory, there becomes a showdown.  The next post will highlight that historical event.  

Love and blessings,

Ron

  1. Beebe, Lucius Morris; Clegg, Charles. The American West: the Pictorial Epic of a Continent.
  2. “Across Arizona”. Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. 66 (364). March 1883.
  3. Bishop, William Henry (1888). Mexico, California and Arizona. New York and London: Harper and Brothers. p. 468. Retrieved May 29, 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

Desert Giant

Saguaro 3

Saguaro!

Tucson, Arizona is home to the nation’s largest cacti. The giant saguaro is the universal symbol of the American west. These majestic plants (or could they be considered trees), found only in a small portion of the United States, are protected by Saguaro National Park.  They are primarily to the east and west of the modern city of Tucson, where you can see these enormous cacti, silhouetted by the beauty of a magnificent desert sunset. (National Park Service – https://www.nps.gov/sagu/index.htm)

Saguaro 4As we traveled through southern Arizona we saw these majestic cacti slowly reaching toward the sky over the years, inch-by-inch.  It seems like they just stand still, reaching upward with outstretched hands, towering over those who would ponder their beauty and age.

Saguaro 1Saguaro are very slow growing cactus. A 10 year old plant might only be 1.5 inches tall. Saguaro can grow to be between 40-60 feet tall (12-18m). When rain is plentiful and the saguaro is fully hydrated it can weigh between 3200-4800 pounds. (https://www.desertmuseum.org)

  • The saguaro is the largest cactus in the United States.
  • Most of the saguaros roots are only 4-6 inches deep and radiate out as far from the plant as it is tall. There is one deep root, or tap root that extends down into the ground more than 2 feet.
  • After the saguaro dies its woody ribs can be used to build roofs, fences, and parts of furniture. The holes that birds nested in or “saguaro boots” can be found among the dead saguaros. Native Americans used these as water containers long before the canteen was available.

Saguaro 2Since the saguaro is a symbol of the American west, I plan to highlight Tombstone, Arizona in my next two posts.  Stay tuned.

Grand Canyon – beyond words

Grand Canyon 11I really appreciate each of you traveling with me along Route 66 toward the Grand Canyon in Arizona, U.S.A.  Our journey continues as I highlight just a few things.  There is so much to post but I’ll let this website provide the details.  https://grandcanyon.com/

Grand Canyon 14There is no doubt some people disagree with the origin and timeline of the Grand Canyon.  However, I’m not here to argue the point.  Let’s just enjoy the beauty and learn a little about it based on what the National Park Service states, and our own eyes.

Grand Canyon 12You can review the archeological information and photos by the Grand Canyon Association at https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/historyculture/adhigrca.htm.

Grand Canyon 8The Colorado River looks like a stream from observation points.  It appears so peaceful from above but it can be a raging, wild thing at times.

There are some amazing photos showcasing the river.  One photo, along with information, is on Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorado_River.

“The Colorado River is one of the principal rivers of the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico (the other being the Rio Grande). The 1,450-mile-long (2,330 km) river drains an expansive, arid watershed that encompasses parts of seven U.S. and two Mexican states. Starting in the central Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the river flows generally southwest across the Colorado Plateau and through the Grand Canyon before reaching Lake Mead on the ArizonaNevada border, where it turns south toward the international border. After entering Mexico, the Colorado approaches the mostly dry Colorado River Delta at the tip of the Gulf of California between Baja California and Sonora.”


Grand Canyon 15While we were riding back and forth to the various observation points, we saw clouds developing in the distance – and then they opened.

Grand Canyon 16We were miles away from the developing storm and were able to capture a few of the weather moments.

Grand Canyon 18

Grand Canyon 17It’s amazing seeing the Canyon’s grandeur highlighted by the lightning.

I respect the lightning and at this time we determined it was best to depart the area.  Wouldn’t you?

Love and Blessings,

Ron

 

Arizona’s Greatest Canyon

Grand Canyon 9For those who have not seen the Grand Canyon in Arizona firsthand, you will be amazed and will stand there in awe.

Grand Canyon 10How can one take in such beauty and peacefulness?  It’s certainly worth a trip.

NPS Map
National Park Service Map

We drove from Flagstaff, Arizona to the South Rim of the Canyon.  One can catch the tour train dedicated for the canyon as well.  I think the drive itself was fairly peaceful and picturesque – sort of like driving on the plains and wondering where the Canyon begins.  You won’t notice it until arriving and then you see the beauty unfold below you.

 

Grand Canyon 6The National Park Service mentions a “unique combinations of geologic color and erosional forms decorate a canyon that is 277 river miles (446km) long, up to 18 miles (29km) wide, and a mile (1.6km) deep.  Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size.” The park service has excellent information at https://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm.

Grand Canyon 5

Grand Canyon 4

Grand Canyon 7
Sign posted on one of the rocks along the walkway.  

The South Rim is open all year but the North Rim is seasonal.

There are many other sites to explore while in the Grand Canyon region so if one has time it’s a great opportunity.

I appreciate your riding along.  I’ll provide more photos in my next post.

Love and Blessings,

Ron